New AR toys are hitting the market, blurring the lines between the real and digital worlds. They
will be more immersive, educational and creative, and this is an incredible business opportunity
for startups around the globe.
One can easily argue that we are already living in augmented reality, looking at the world
through the prism of our iPhones. Digital objects, such as Pokemon or flying castles, are a part
of our lives and, most importantly, the lives of our children.
“Google and Apple are currently the main trend setters in AR but, most likely, small creative
studios and dynamic developers are the ones who will be leading the digital revolution,” said
Alexey Andreychenko, founder of IT Craft, the Berlin-based software development company.
“Great tools like Vuforia are getting more easy-to-use every year. In the future even our children
will be able to create and manage their own 3D objects.”
“Even furniture production might be disrupted by AR and VR soon,” Andreychenko believes.
“Apps that are used to show different products in realistic rooms have not been perfected yet, but
it seems that tech savvy consumers love them anyway.” Ikea, Wayfair and Jerome’s report AR is helping them to drive sales.
Augmented reality is already changing education. Immersive educational toys are the next step in
this process. We can’t expect that our tech prodigy children will study biology and other life
sciences from the bland textbooks and slides that we’ve been using for ages.
Such startups as The Body VR are taking an immersive approach to education, letting you travel
the human body in person and actively interacting with it instead of just looking at images on a
Others, such as Universe Sandbox, allow you to navigate the Universe as you visit star systems.
You can even create your own, which is one of the craziest things that’s now possible thanks to
the augmented reality.
“Almost any toy can be linked with augmented reality to give a richer, immersive experience to
our children,” Andreychenko said.
“Seedling came up with Parker, an augmented reality teddy bear that created “an interactive
world of doctor play”. It’s all soft and doesn’t have any batteries, but with the app a child can
examine teddy’s bones, soothe a scratchy throat, cure a tummy bug, or cool a fever.”
Interactivity and immersion are one of the main trends in the modern world. Millennials,
including the complicated generation Z, want to be creators rather than consumers. Retailers and
product designers will have to engage them in the augmented reality game.
By Victoria Zavyalova, co-founder, V Startup Agency